Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Am I a vegetarian or an attention seeker?

At my brothers wedding in 1994 I pushed the beef around my plate before I cut it into tiny pieces hoping to hide it at the side of my plate. I kept sneaking envious peeks at the vegetable lasagne my veggie friend Mike was tucking into beside me.

The following day I made an announcement I am a vegetarian. Meat for me is history. But I couldn't turn my nose up at a plate of steaming fish and chips so I became a pescetarian

Then after my brain tumour surgery the smell of crispy bacon nearly drove me insane. One day Mr H found me tucking into a home made crispy bacon sandwich with red sauce dripping off my chin. 

When my nephew quipped that I was attention seeking, I declared...

am a pesce-crispybacon-tarian!

In the last five days, since my first chemotherapy, my appetite and taste buds have gone on strike! I have eaten dry cream crackers, the odd ginger biscuit, a packet of salt and vinegar crisps, a solitary fish cake, a bowl of stewed apple and a couple of pears.

Today when Mike takes me to the sea for the day, his jaw drops to the floor when I ask for a coke, full strength, not diet, in the cafe as we sit down to rest. 

You never drink pop

I know but this and lemonade and have been all I can sip without feeling sick. I manage glasses of water later on in the day but not before mid afternoon

My toasted tea cake tastes like a serviette so like a child I pick out the currants one by one and pop them into my mouth. They taste like currants!

On our way home we stop at my local shops. I crave crispy bacon and egg which I get from the deli. In the Nisa store Mike carries the basket, his grin of amazement spreading as I drop in two bottles of coke and 7 UP, a packet of cream crackers and two packets of Walkers salt and vinegar crisps!

Now my nausea is slipping away dinner is a tea plate banquet! 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

My first chemotherapy and getting Jack in the box



Are you ready to come through?

No not really I say with a dimpled grin

But I stand and put one foot in front of the other until we reach the corner I am to sit, well recline. Tears seep into the corner of my eyes when the nurse asks how I am feeling?

Scared. Scared of how I will feel when the drugs go in. 

Mr H reminds me the drugs will stop any rogue cancer cells settling into my body so I shuffle my bum into the seat. I am ready.  

I swallow five tiny white tablets, steroids and anti emetics to prevent me feeling sick. A heave tries to sneak out but I tuck it back in. Stupid, too early for that. Just fear.

They bring in the syringes lined up in a blue tray. 

The PICC line put into my arm earlier in the week will last until August if we treat it like a fragile flower.

 I chat to Mr H and the nurses as the red and white drugs slide painlessly into my vein. I feel an oddness which is hard to explain, my palms are sweaty, caused by anxiety I assume. After an hour and a half and we wander out clutching a sweet shop of pills and injections.

At home I sip soup while we laugh at Father Ted's antics. I laugh so much I have to make a quick dash to the loo. But in bed the nausea rolls and buckets and bacterial wipes are put into use!

I do a mindfulness body scan to settle and rest.

...Today my chemotherapy nausea is like a Jack in the box who refuses to be hidden. Not only does he keep popping up but he laughs at the anti sickness tablets. I call the oncologist centre and get some sound advice to obtain another prescription for a second drug. It takes three phone calls and a GP visit to me at home before a prescription for different tablets gets Jack back in his box. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Starting a course of Father Jacks FEC

After my brain tumour swear words tumbled out of my mouth like a waterfall. Following a period of grace Mr H said

Dawn you are worse than Father Jack, this needs to stop...

But B*****, S*** and F*** continued to slip from my grasp. 

Then my nephew told me the first swear word he learnt, when he was two, was from me when I dropped scissors onto the floor and I realised this was not new...just worse than before.

I retrained my brain to replace B*****, S*** and F*** with sugar! Or oh...then I held my breath...

But when the oncologist told me that the course of chemotherapy I would need was called FEC 

I couldn't keep a smirk from my lips. 

Permission to swear!

Mrs Doyle: Who's for tea?
Father Jack: Tea?! Feck!
Mrs Doyle: Now... (pouring Jack a cup of tea) ... and what do you say to a cup?
Father Jack: Feck off, cup!

Father Ted is a sitcom that was produced by Hat Trick Productions, written jointly by Irish writers and starring a predominantly Irish cast, from 21 April 1995 until 1 May 1998.
Set on the fictional Craggy Island, a remote location off Ireland's west coast, the show starred the eponymous Father Ted Crilly alongside fellow priests Father Dougal McGuire and Father Jack Hackett. Exiled on the island for various past incidents, the priests live together in the parochial house with their housekeeper Mrs Doyle.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

An Easter donkey surprise!

Last Easter I sat on my bum in the rhubarb bed. This year when Mr H asked me what I wanted to do I said

Sit on a beach with Uppity, Dippy and you, hammering stones in search of fossils.

My love of natural things means the house is full of jars brimming over with scratcy, spikey shells picked up from beaches. Long stones, crazy stones and an occasional fossil.  I always want more...

The sun opens its arms as I sing I can see the sea, I can see the sea... But my battery is low so instead of sitting on windy beaches we eat strawberry ice cream on a seaside bench, placed there in memory of a loved one. The ozone tickles my nose as we watch children bend to stare into rock pools, their fishing nets held in hopeful fists, an orange sandcastle bucket waiting for their catch of the day.

When the blue sky is covered in a grey blanket we ride out to visit Walter. A pale donkey who lives in a sanctuary and is sponsored by our friend Corinne. Walter is teased out of his stable by a ginger biscuit. He saunters over in his blue winter coat and Mr H strokes his ears. I tweet Corinne a picture.

As soon as I get back I wash my hands; clean my stick handle, handbag strap, iPad cover and camera. Can't be too careful with chemotherapy starting this week..

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I wanted to write something funny

I wanted to make you smile, to turn up the corner of your lips, hear you giggle. But as hard as I try, like a stubborn child the words I need refuse to settle on a page. So I take a smiley spring stroll in the sunshine. I watch the ground beneath my feet to prevent an oops a daisy when I step into a pothole. The more I hunt for words to make you laugh the deeper they crawl into the undergrowth. Even though today is a good day. The only words I could find were these...

Words lie like stones at the bottom of a pond
Pain screws sentences up in his fist
Sleep steals ideas and sets them free before I wake

Scribbled notes fold their arms and refuse to be read
A tug of war has drained my thinking tank
and I abandon half written blogs 

My head puts up a sign saying 'do not disturb'
I am on a decision making holiday
I revel in my silent mind

Photograph taken in Cornwall by my Special Friend Sue 
A peacefulness follows any decision, even the wrong one. 
Rita Mae Brown

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Choices; we may not like them but we always have choices

My brain tumour and brain abscess were life threatening emergencies. Now breast cancer temporarily sits behind the steering wheel of my life I have the chance to navigate each stage of the journey.  

I made a choice about how much of my breast I wanted to loose and opted for radiotherapy on my remaining lymph nodes. Now a chemotherapy decision glares at me. The scales of risks versus benefit teeter from side to side. My head is a cyclone of  thoughts. Mr H is as muddled as me.

Last night I spoke to my cousin, she has driven this route; took the high road went on the rocky journey and arrived at the end. I phone Macmillan and get a bit closer to the right turn. I collect information on suggested routes by seeking the support of others: my Neuro team about the effects on my already damaged brain and my epilepsy. I talk to my GP, my sister. friends...and I am reminded yet again of Jim Lawless's Ten rules which will help me to tame this tiger. Rule 5 the tools are all around you

It always seems impossible until it is done - Nelson Mandela